LabRats #094: Accounts, and why they matter

Is there a difference between being an Administrator or a standard user on your own computer, right in your den in your home? The words would suggest there is. The facts confirm it.

OS X Account Configuration

This distinction, by the way, holds true in both the Windows and the Mac worlds.

Now, why is it important? Simply because as an Administrator, you have access to all applications, you can edit registries, you can rid the machine of whatever doesn’t belong there, such as viruses and sundry such stuff, and it makes perfect sense, especially in multi-user families, to delegate these chores on the person who knows the most about how the system works.

It’s also useful to remember that logging on as Administrator when you’re only going to use the computer for an everyday, routine task is quite a dangerous enterprise. Say, you’re going to make yourself a cup of coffee and your child runs up and installs software that, unbeknownst to your offspring, includes more spyware than the KGB and CIA combined. Now what? Now you have to clean up the mess and remember that you have set up an account for yourself as a standard user, too: use it, then!

In this installment of LabRats, Andy Walker and Sean Carruthers explain the ins and outs of different access levels and show us how to perform these tasks both on Windows Vista and Mac OS X machines.

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